WorldView-1 Checks Out, Starts Delivering to NGA
DigitalGlobe‘s WorldView-1 imaging satellite has completed its check-out phase and is now delivering imagery to the company’s biggest customer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,
said in a Nov. 26 press release.
Launched in September, WorldView-1 is the world’s highest resolution commercial imagery satellite, DigitalGlobe said in a Nov. 26 press release
. The satellite reached full operating capacity Nov. 17 after delivering its first sample imagery Oct. 15. Reaching full capacity on the new satellite allows the legacy QuickBird satellite to meet the growing commercial demand for multi-spectral imagery, DigitalGlobe said.
The company’s next imagery satellite, WorldView-2, is schedul
ed to launch in late 2008.
U.S. Navy Set To Finish Aegis BMD System in ’08
Money added to the 2008 budget for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system will enable the U.S. Navy to complete installation
on all 18 ships selected to receive the capability, according to the Navy’s Aegis program director.
Rear Adm. Alan Hicks said the additional $75 million Congress tacked on to U.S. President George W. Bush’s $1.06 billion 2008 request for the program will allow installation to be completed ahead of schedule. Hicks was speaking at a National Press Club event in Washington sponsored by the George C. Marshall Institute.
U.S. Missile Defense Agency personnel have characterized Aegis BMD as one of their best performing missile defense systems.
�It has successfully intercepted 11 of 13 test targets, including two
missiles fired this month during a test
the agency declared “operationally realistic.”
The Navy recently completed installation of the Aegis missile defense system on its 10th ship, the destroyer USS Ramage. It will be the first Aegis BMD-capable ship in the Atlantic fleet. The crew of that ship currently is being trained, and full capability certification should occur in December or January, Hicks said. Based in Norfolk, Va., USS Ramage pulled into Baltimore harbor
Nov. 29 to coincide with the annual Army-Navy football game, in which Hicks predicted the Navy’s third consecutive victory.
The Navy now has four Aegis BMD ships armed with missiles in the Pacific Ocean, and the first engagement-capable ship is en route for routine deployment in the Middle East, Hicks said.
Norwegian Airport Starts Using GPS for Guidance
Norway’s Br�nn�ysund Airport has begun using
a satellite-based landing guidance system for regular passenger air traffic, Northrop Grumman spokesman Ken Beedle said in a Nov. 29 e-mail. The new system has been in operation since Oct. 29, Beedle said.
Park Air Systems, a U.K. and Norway-based subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corp., developed and installed the NORMARC 8005 Special Category 1 (Scat-1) ground station for the new landing system, Northrop Grumman said in a Nov. 21
The system is particularly useful during low visibility and bad weather in regions with high mountains, where instrument landing systems cannot be used, Beedle said.
Park Air Systems has a contract with
Norwegian air navigation service provider Avinor to deliver the ground stations to more than 20 regional airports in Norway during the next three years, Beedle said.
He refused to disclose the cost of a of the ground stations. The Scat-1 ground station receives and validates GPS signals and then transmits and calculates signal corrections to the Scat-1 avionics.
The Br�nn�ysund Airport is the first to use satellite-based landing guidance for passenger flights, according to the release.
The ground station was technically certified in April, and the entire system was operationally certified in September, Beedle said.
Strong Canadian Dollar Hurts Com Dev Revenue
Satellite-component manufacturer Com Dev International of Canada said it will not make good on its revenue promises this year because of the continued strength of the Canadian dollar. The company also said it has established an independent committee to review Com Dev’s history of stock-option grants and ultimately may restate previous financial statements, depending on the committee’s findings.
The two Nov. 29 announcements sent Cambridge, Ontario-based Com Dev’s stock tumbling by 11 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange despite an announcement the company had won a $17-million order for payload-electronics components. Com Dev did not say who the customer is but details of the announcement suggest it is an expected follow-on order from ThalesAlenia Space, which is building the 48 second-generation Globalstar mobile communications satellites.
Com Dev Chief Executive John Keating had said in mid
�September that growth in the commercial satellite business was so robust that Com Dev would post a revenue increase of “at least 10 percent this year and further growth next year” despite the rise in the value of the Canadian dollar, especially against the U.S. dollar.
But Com Dev said further increases in the Canadian dollar in recent weeks have forced the company to revise downward that forecast, to a revenue increase of 8 percent for Com Dev’s fiscal year, which ended
Com Dev said it has established an independent committee to review the company’s stock-option award policies and has met with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to inform stock-exchange regulators of the review. “The company is not aware of any investigation by the OSC at this time,” Com Dev said in its Nov. 29 statement.
Training & Simulation Company Sold to BAE
BAE Systems has agreed to pay 61.3 million Swedish Krona ($9.8 million) to acquire Swedish high-tech company Pitch Technologies AB, according to a Nov. 27 BAE press release
Pitch Technologies, which is based in Link�ping, Sweden, develops computer-based training and research simulation technologies, including programs used by NASA and the Boeing Co., the release said.
Satellites To Supply Sentinel-1 Radar Instrument
Florida-Based Firm Wins Dryden Support Contract
Corp. won a
year contract to provide technical and engineering support services to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., the space agency said in a Nov. 20 press release.
The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract includes
a four-year base period and six one-year options. The
total potential value to the Fort Walton Beach, Fla.-based company is $149 million. The contract becomes effective
3 Headed Back to Home Port
The launch of the Thuraya 3 mobile communications satellite by
likely will be delayed until after Christmas to give the company’s ocean-based launch platform and its command vessel time to restock fuel and other supplies and to fix a new
�schedule, Sea Launch spokeswoman Paula Korn said.
Sea Launch’s Commander ship and
Odyssey floating launch platform are expected to return to the company’s Long Beach, Calif., home port – the first the week of Dec. 3, the second perhaps a week later – after two weeks of waiting for sea-current and weather conditions at the Pacific Ocean equatorial launch site to improve. They never did.
said a new launch date had not yet been set. United Arab Emirates-based Thuraya Satellite Communications Co. originally planned to launch its third satellite – which will be used to expand the company’s coverage to East Asia – in early 2007. It was first delayed by the January Sea Launch on-pad failure, then by last-minute testing requested by satellite builder Boeing Satellite Systems International of El Segundo, Calif.
The Odyssey platform uses its own engines to maintain a stable position for launch, but was unable to stay within required stability limits given the sea currents, which Sea Launch said were unusually strong.
MSV Will Not Have To Build Spare Satellite
Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV), a subsidiary of SkyTerra Communications, will not be required to build a ground spare satellite in order to operate a network of ground-based signal transmitters
�following a waiver announced Nov. 27 by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The FCC accepted Reston, Va.-based MSV’s argument that because its sister company, MSV Canada, will be launching a satellite identical to the MSV-1 spacecraft, the U.S. and Canadian satellites will be able to serve as mutual backups in the event one of them fails.
MSV is one of several companies that have received U.S. regulatory permission to deploy
Ancillary Terrestrial Component,
that will deliver
�signals to users when they are beyond the reach of satellite coverage.
To assure that these companies will not rely on revenue-generating ATC networks –
�and avoid building a replacement satellite if their first satellite fails – the FCC ordered that
have a ground spare available within one year of the start of ATC their services.
�it has reached an agreement with MSV Canada that both companies’ next-generation satellites -MSV-1, to be launched in 2009, and MSV Canada’s MSV-2, slated for launch in 2010 – will be compatible
with each other’s gateway Earth stations. Users of either system will have only a few hours of service outage if one satellite fails before the backup takes over coverage.
been forced to build a ground spare, MSV said, it would take months before service is restored in the event of a satellite failure, and would have cost the company several hundred-million dollars in satellite-construction costs. MSV-1 and MSV-2 are under construction by Boeing Satellite Systems International in El Segundo, Calif.
Integral To Build Rascom Mission Control Facility
Integral Systems Europe of Cedex, France, won a contract to build a mission control facility for the pan-African RascomStar-QAF satellite communications consortium
, parent company Integral Systems of Lanham, Md., announced Nov. 12.
The facility, to be located in Cameroon, will
feature signal-monitoring and transponder-use planning systems supplied by Integral subsidiaries, the company said.
�It also will include a pair of dish antennas supplied by Globecomm Systems of Hauppauge, N.Y.
Bruno Dupas, president of Integral Systems Europe, declined in a
Nov. 15 telephone interview to divulge the value of the contract.
Rascom-1 communications satellite, built by ThalesAlenia Space of Europe, is slated to launch in December aboard an Ariane 5 rocket.
AAE Nabs Contract With Middle East Customer
AAE Systems Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., won a $24 million contract from an unidentified Middle East government customer to provide a satellite communications system, AAE said in a Nov. 12 press release.
The turnkey system will
voice, data and video services for medical facilities, government offices, banking institutions, public service agencies and disaster relief agencies.
The system is slated to be turned over to the client in late 2008, AAE spokeswoman Maricris Lopez said in a
�Nov. 21 e-mail
GlobecommTo Upgrade European Ground Station
Globecomm Systems Inc. of Hauppauge, N.Y., won a $1 million contract from an existing customer to upgrade a satellite Earth station for direct-to-home broadcasting, the company said Nov. 27.
The work, which includes upgrades to an existing satellite antenna and installation of amplifier systems and other equipment, is expected to be completed by March 31.
did not identify the customer, which it referred to as a “long-term European services provider.”
Former FCC Official Takes Reins at SIA
the Satellite Industry Association (SIA) appointed Patricia Cooper as the Washington-based advocacy group’s
president, effective immediately, a Nov. 26 SIA press release said
Cooper previously was
the senior satellite competition advisor with the U.S.
Federal Communications Commission’s International Bureau. She replaces
David Cavossa, who left as SIA’s executive director in mid July to take a position with
Arrowhead Global Solutions Inc.
�of Fairfax, Va.
Webb, NPOESS Software Clears Acceptance Testing
Northrop Grumman and Raytheon completed acceptance testing in August of the command and telemetry system that will be used both for NASA’s flagship-class James Webb Space Telescope and the National Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), the U.S. space agency said in a Nov. 15 press release.
The software is a modified version of Raytheon’s commercially available Eclipse satellite command and telemetry system. It was customized for the Webb mission over a four-year period by Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems under a $9.3 million NASA contract awarded in 2003.
The four weeks of acceptance testing took place at Northrop Grumman facilities using simulated space- and ground-segment equipment, the press release said.
Northrop Grumman Space Technology of Redondo Beach, Calif., is prime contractor on both the Webb telescope and NPOESS, a new generation of weather satellites being built for the U.S. Air Force and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Webb is slated to launch in 2013, as is the first NPOESS satellite.
Using the same software on both programs will save on costs, NASA said.
Thermal Vacuum Test On 2nd STSS Finished
Northrop Grumman Space Technology, of Redondo Beach, Calif., has completed thermal vacuum testing for the second Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) demonstration satellite, the company announced Nov. 29.
Northrop Grumman built two satellites for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Thermal vacuum testing for the first satellite was completed in May 2007. The testing confirmed the satellite will be able to perform in a space environment.
The two satellites, which are equipped with infrared sensors, are intended to be used in a demonstration of the ability of a missile defense interceptor to track enemy missiles as they coast through space after their motors have burned out.
They are scheduled to launch together aboard a single rocket in the spring of 2008 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Northrop Selects Microsoft Platform for C4ISR Work
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems Group selected
�a Microsoft visual simulation platform to help it develop improved capabilities for military command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4ISR) work, according to a Nov. 27 company news release.
The Microsoft ESP platform uses software development tools for code development, content integration, scenario building, prototyping 3-D
aviation and scenery objects, and visualization of military routes and missions, according to the news release.
Northrop Grumman plans to use the platform as it builds
a number of C4ISR capabilities and technologies, beginning with the company’s work on route and mission planning software architecture, according to the news release. Northrop Grumman will use its own software on the platform to develop 3-D
planning and fly-through visualizations for training and mission rehearsals.
“With Microsoft ESP, organizations can easily and cost-effectively apply the advantages of game-based technology to serious business simulation for flight mission planning and prototyping of aviation and surface marine objects in 3-D,” said Don Mattrick, Microsoft senior vice president of Interactive Entertainment Business, in the Northrop Grumman news release.
General Dynamics Gets $75 Million WIN-T Order
General Dynamics C4 Systems of Taunton, Mass., received a $75 million hardware and software order from the U.S. Army for
the Warfighter Information Network�Tactical (WIN-T) mobile satellite communications terminals, according to a Nov. 27 company news release.
The order was part of the Common Hardware/Software 3 (CHS-3) contract, an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with a potential value of $2 billion over the 10-year life of the deal, which General Dynamics won in 2003.
The CH-3 contract is intended to supply the military with an array of products including rugged local area networks, server platforms, communication gateways, routers, laptops, fax machines and accessories including vehicle mounts, cables
�and operational transit cases, according to the news release.
U.S. Air Force Tests AEHF Secure Channel
The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center has conducted the first test of the secure link between the space and ground segments of its planned Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite communications system, the service said in a Nov. 16 press release.
During the test, a
�suite of AEHF user terminals sent protected signals to a flight-like model of the AEHF payload, which then returned the signals to the terminals. The testing was performed at Los Angeles Air Force Base
�and involved AEHF prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems
�of Sunnyvale, Calif., and payload provider Northrop Grumman Space Technology
�of Redondo Beach, Calif.
The AEHF system will consist of
at least four satellites, the first of which is scheduled to launch in 2008. It will provide roughly 10 times the capacity of its
predecessor, the Milstar secure satellite system
In other developments
, Lockheed Martin announced Nov. 20 that it has delivered the core propulsion system for the second AEHF satellite. Northrop Grumman, meanwhile, announced Nov. 26 that it has completed qualification testing for the payload flight software.
Cisco Hires Recently Retired U.S. Army CIO
Steven Boutelle, a recently retired Army lieutenant general and chief information officer of the Army, is the new vice president of Cisco’s global government solutions group, according to a Nov. 26 company news release.
will lead the company’s Internet Routing in Space, or IRIS, effort, an industry-government collaboration to demonstrate the viability of military communications through a space-based Internet router, according to the news release.
, who played increasingly important roles in the Army’s move to wireless and space-based communications for much of the last decade, led the service’s funding, design, acquisition, training and deployment of information technology systems in his last job.
Bill Language Targets Chinese Rocket Use
The report accompanying the final 2008 defense appropriations bill
includes language requiring the Defense Department to tell Congress in about six
�months how many foreign satellite companies are launching satellites aboard
Chinese rockets. That specific language is not contained in the final edited version of the conferees’ report. However, it was included in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s version of the report, and the final bill contains a clause that says anything not specifically deleted by lawmakers during conference is an official part of the bill. Therefore, a staffer said, the Senate report language about Chinese rockets stands as law.
The study is required in one paragraph in the Senate Appropriations report. It says the Secretary of Defense must deliver a report within 180 days of the bill’s passage “providing an assessment of the current Chinese rocket program identifying non-Chinese companies which are contracting to use Chinese launch vehicles.”
The bill was signed into law Nov. 13 by U.S. President George W. Bush
Numerous sources said the language is aimed at Thales, which has developed an “ITAR-Free” satellite built by the French-Italian manufacturer Thales-Alenia Space. Because the satellites contain no U.S. parts, they can be launched
aboard Long March launchers provided by China’s government-owned China Great Wall Industries Corp.
U.S. companies have largely not been able
to work with China Great Wall since jurisdiction for satellite export licenses was transferred in from the Commerce Department to the State Department in 1999.